I was stowing my stuff (what little there is of it), as ordered by the guards, when the news came on that Hamilton had been killed. The next thing I knew we were ordered to secure ourselves, which for me meant sitting on the floor at then end of a row of seats, bracing myself against the wall, while the ship rocked and jolted with the zaps from attacking UNWG ships. Then two bangs from our ship and it was over.
Just like that.
In a few minutes I was standing at the edge of the crowded lounge sipping a beer with a group of complete strangers. I mean, beer, imagine! I haven’t had beer in years. Good beer too. I loved the sharp bite and tang of it. The last time I had a beer was at a dog trial in what used to be Scotland. Don McNeely brewed it himself and it tasted like it. The man should stick to training dogs, I’ll tell you. This was the real thing here though, even if it was in a plastic mug.
While I listened a fellow at the bar expounded on a little ritual he and his wife/partner, I guess, did with their drink glasses. It was sure attention getting. He explained it went along with a bit of philosophy about people being divided into three types including sheep, sheepdogs and wolves.
Now that made sense to me. I tend to think of most everything in terms of animals and plants.
I had been wondering what I was doing on a trip like this, agrarian, low-tech, ordinary me, but the sheepdog analogy suddenly made so much clear. A sheepdog trotting beside me, keeping order, making sense of things, keeping our creatures safe from danger, (although perhaps not in the form of actual wolves) has been a constant in my world. It made me feel better about leaving behind my real sheepdog and my family. Or maybe it was the beer.
I found myself wondering what awaits us on this new planet, Alchibah. We’re looking to build a new government that can withstand the corruption and power hunger that has destroyed Earth. Can we do it? What will we find in the way of terrain and plant life? There are so many people here; I am wondering if Hamilton was able to supply for such a group. I am glad I have seeds and germplasm from so many food plants in my duffel.
I wonder too what will happen now that Hamilton is gone. The people that I have seen in action seem to be a competent, capable lot and the pilots and guards seem well trained in surviving in space. However, they sure are an independent bunch. Can they cooperate without a leader? Or is there a strong leader among us? I guess we will find out.
Oh, and just by the by, I made it a point to catch a glimpse of the co-pilot after someone mentioned that he was a farm boy. Hmmm, I always heard that they grew good stuff in Nebraska. Sounds right to me.